I’m visiting Beijing for the Pao-Lu Hsu Statistics Conference on Machine Learning.
I had several discussions about the state of Chinese research. Given the large population and economy, you might expect substantial research—more than has been observed at international conferences. The fundamental problem seems to be the Cultural Revolution which lobotimized higher education, and the research associated with it. There has been a process of slow recovery since then, which has begun to be felt in the research world via increased participation in international conferences and (now) conferences in China.
The amount of effort going into construction in Beijing is very impressive—people are literally building a skyscraper at night outside the window of the hotel I’m staying at (and this is not unusual). If a small fraction of this effort is later focused onto supporting research, the effect could be very substantial. General growth in China’s research portfolio should be expected.